By Jefferson Flanders

As the 2008 presidential campaign enters August, here are a few political questions to contemplate:

WHO WOULD JOHN McCAIN AND BARACK OBAMA SELECT FOR THEIR RESPECTIVE RUNNING MATES if they put aside all considerations except winning key swing states? For McCain, former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge represents the best choice for the GOP ticket to contest Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and perhaps even New Jersey (more so than McCain-Romney). For Obama, Hillary Clinton as VP would provide the most lift in Ohio, Michigan, and Florida by appealing to ethnic working class Democrats and older women.

Yet it’s unlikely Ridge and Clinton will be the vice presidential choices. Ridge’s pro-choice stance makes him a difficult sell to Republican evangelicals. Obama doesn’t want to share the stage, or spotlight, with the more experienced Clinton. So, it can be argued, the candidates will not let Electoral College math drive their VP-picks and that’s where political decision-making veers from the rational.

DID SENATOR OBAMA SLIGHT HARRY TRUMAN IN HIS BERLIN SPEECH? Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe quarreled with Sen. Obama’s oratorical treatment of the Berlin Airlift (in Obama’s July 24th speech), with the often-fiery conservative columnist zinging the Democratic presidential hopeful for failing to mention President Harry Truman’s pivotal role and the courage of the U.S. pilots involved. Jacoby added:

…Obama seemed to go out of his way not to say plainly that what saved Berlin in that dark time was America’s military might. Save for a solitary reference to “the first American plane,” he never described one of the greatest American operations of the postwar period as an American operation at all. He spoke only of “the airlift,” “the planes,” “those pilots.” Perhaps their American identity wasn’t something he cared to stress amid all his “people of the world” salutations and talk of “global citizenship.”

Jacoby’s criticism is partially valid, but the Berlin Airlift was a combined Anglo-American operation, with more British pilots (39) dying than American (31) during the course of the nearly year-long resupply effort. (The 1950 movie “The Big Lift” offers an in-depth look at the harrowing conditions faced by pilots flying into Berlin.)

WHO DEMONSTRATES THE ABSURDITY OF ENTERTAINERS PONTIFICATING ON POLITICS BETTER, RAPPER LUDACRIS OR ACTOR JON VOIGHT? Ludacris embarrassed the Obama campaign by releasing a rap video insulting both Hillary Clinton and John McCain, while Voight contributed a pro-McCain op-ed to the Washington Times warning about Obama’s plans to introduce socialism to the United States. With celebrity friends like these, who needs enemies?

WILL COUNTRY SINGER JOHN RICH’S NEW SONG “RAISIN’ McCAIN” CATCH ON? Republican presidential hopefuls have had trouble finding campaign songs, often because Democratic-leaning songwriters (John Cougar Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen) don’t want their music appropriated for use by GOP candidates. Since Rich wrote his song specifically to help McCain, there aren’t any issues. You can download the song at Rich’s website.

Copyright © 2008 Jefferson Flanders
All rights reserved

Reprinted from Neither Red nor Blue

Be Sociable, Share!